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New marine protected areas bill passes first reading

Hon Dr Nick Smith
Minister of Conservation
20 March 2014 Media Statement
Bill to establish new marine protected areas passes first reading

Conservation Minister Dr Nick Smith welcomed the first reading of a bill to establish new marine protections and management tools for Kaikōura’s coast and ocean, which received unanimous support across Parliament today.

“This bill protects the unique environment off the coast of Kaikōura which has the most biologically rich ocean anywhere in the world over 500 metres’ depth,” Dr Smith says.

“The Kaikōura (Te Tai-o-Marokura) Marine Management Bill will establish a new marine reserve, whale and fur seal sanctuary, five customary fishing areas and amateur fishing regulations. This package of conservation and fisheries tools will benefit Kaikōura’s whales, dolphins, seals, albatross, rock lobster, shellfish and finfish, as well as helping to sustain its $134 million a year tourism industry.

“The debate over marine protection for Kaikōura has been going for over 20 years, and I’m particularly pleased that this comprehensive package has been delivered through a community-led process involving a collaborative group of Kaikōura representatives from iwi, recreational, commercial and charter fishers, boating and conservation groups.

“Our oceans are the new frontier for conservation. They cover an area of 20 times New Zealand’s land area. Our ‘blue-green’ agenda is about responsibly taking up economic opportunities for new developments like marine farming and petroleum exploration but also setting aside special areas for permanent protection. That is why we will establish a record number and area of marine reserves this year.

“This bill will now be sent to the Local Government and Environment Select Committee for public submissions. It’s our ambition to pass the legislation this year and for the new measures to be in place by 2015.”

ENDS

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